- Chris Nowell
With the temperature dropping as we are officially in the winter season I for one was looking forward to some snow. Luckily we did not have to wait very long with the white stuff predicted in the forecast I knew exactly what I wanted to photograph. For me that is the first stage of landscape Photography the preparation. It makes me laugh when we are out in the Peak District waiting for the Sun to rise Or Set and we watch people running up the hill at the last moment just to capture the last of the best action. I am quite the opposite I want to be at a location at least half an hour beforehand, of course this can be a negative event when the landscape does not provide due to cloud cover or lack of light but for me I want to be there half an hour before to take my time and capture an image to the best of my ability.
For this occasion I was not able to get to the Peak District National Park however due to the preparation I have done beforehand I have a large handful of local compositions to visit.
Preparation should be a huge part of any Photographers workflow. This can be in the simple form of location scouting. The time spent walking round your local area picking out compositions is just as important as pressing the shutter at the final moment. That way when we are all lucky enough to capture a winter scene such as myself recently the rest of your workflow should be successful.
To achieve this it can be quite simple, firstly go for a walk that way you will get the benefits of being outside which we all know now due to the pandemic is a huge part of everyone's mental health. As well as the benefits of fitness fresh air and just being outside. Secondly it is a good idea to check out any interesting compositions on Google Maps or similar forms of information.
3rd ask around there's nothing wrong with talking to other Photographers or walkers who have also exploring their local area that way you achieve the benefits of socialising and learning together. Lastly we source information from local companies. Where we live in Dronfield for example there are books available to purchase at (The Dronfield Hall barn). These books are local guide books which are available to purchase and in your area you should have similar companies to contact. Also a library is a good source of information although I understand there are not many libraries around anymore or at least not as many as there used to be.
Now let's get to the photo
This photo was actually captured on my way home after Photographing the composition I had planned. The roads were fairly quiet but I was quite surprised just how quick the snow began to melt after it had stopped falling. The temperatures were never horribly cold however it seemed to rise in temperature after the Sun had set. Even more surprising was that the following morning the majority of the snow in our garden had gone due to unusual 11°C the following morning.
As I set off along this local country lane I said hello to a fellow Walker who was going the same way as myself. We ended up chatting the whole way to my composition and it actually helped take away the time which was only 20 minutes but it was a very pleasant conversation and it was an honour to meet yourself Mike. I explained briefly to Mike what I was going to capture and as we arrived I pointed it out to him to which he explained he would've never of noticed it if he didn't turn round and he was looking forward to seeing the final image.
As Mike and I went our separate ways I stood to the side of the road making sure I was in the right position and got out the tripod ready to set up the composition. One of the latest tripods from Vanguard is this absolute beast The VEO 3+ tripod available in carbon fibre and aluminium plus available in a more recent travel tripod version. I must say this is by far my favourite tripod from Vanguard although they're all very good in their own individual ways working out the right tripod for yourself. However for me out photographing the peaks and tors of the Peak District National Park I want that strong stabilisation and this is a absolute beast. You can check out the link below regarding the tripod i use or whatever tripod could be right for you.
Alone with just enough time before things began to turn dark in the evening It was time to start composing. Luckily at the last moment I picked up an umbrella which just makes it easier to keep the front element clear of snow. Now the road was empty and the snow was filling the footprints nicely. Although this would require a small amount of photo editing to take a few of them out. For myself I use something called Affinity Photo which due to my brain injury became so much easier than other sources. Although it's just as powerful as some of the obvious brands with helpful videos and guides I am happily and always will happily use affinity photo for my post processing.
Image composed empty road and the snow starting to slow it was time to capture this moment. A photograph that has been in my mind for about five years, which is quite funny in that it's so local less than a mile away from home I believe and I've never captured it to the best of my ability. Arguably it's still not perfect due to the fact there are tracks made by cars but for now this will do nicely who knows after all when we will have more snow.
By the time I was ready to capture my final image the light was ever so slightly fading. To that end it was easy to raise the ISO ever so slightly to allow more light into the camera. At the same time we had to raise the shutter speed ever so slightly again to capture the motion of the fallen snow but by now the majority of the snow had really started to stop falling.
This was a slight shame however I was in the right place at the right time and as I mentioned earlier who knows when we'll get more snow so I was ready to just capture the best of this wonderful winter wonderland.
At last after five years of waiting for the right conditions I had captured my local Winter Wonderland. For sure it is not at its best however for now it will work nicely and I'm over the moon.
To explain what I like about this photograph is simple. I like the fact it is local and I am a big fan of exploring your local area really understanding where it is you live before going out and capturing those big landscapes. It is the fall out looking down the lane and wondering what is around the corner the fallout down the hill really adds the drama to the photograph. It is a classic British landscape photograph which works perfectly in my mind. Finally it is the snow everyone likes snow although it can be treacherous of course for some people just to look at it in a photograph everyone enjoys that winter escapism.
Over the next few days this picture will be available to purchase on my website in the contact sheet available in frames canvases or prints. However for now I just hope I've taken you on my journey I hope you enjoyed the photograph and enjoyed the idea of being there with me. Thank you so much for everyone who takes the time to check this out I really appreciate all your feedback across this website and social media I will always reply to everyone who takes the time to have a look.
Chris Nowell Photography